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Looking for fertilizer advice

I am starting tomatoes and peppers indoors for the first time and I am in need of very specific advice. I am just using standard Miracle Grow water soluble fertilizer. All I can find in terms of fertilizing new plants is to use a diluted solution (how diluted? and how much of the diluted solution do I apply to each plant?) starting from when first true leaves form (but how often do I apply it?) I really don't want to burn them up and end up at the nursery buying plants again this year. If anyone here could help me out with some very specific instructions I would be very grateful. This one area of confusion has kept me from attempting to start seeds for quite a while now.

_ amount of water
_ amount of fertilizer powder
Apply _ amount to each plant at _ interval

Thank you in advance :()

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One gallon of water. One heaping tablespoonful of fertilizer powder. Stir it up well, and just go water the plants. Once a week.

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This is my Nute mix, its leftover from my Hydroponic Gardening.

This is the mix for the Hydro, then I cut that by 4
Nute Mix per 5 gallons for tomatoes (20-18-38)

12 grams Calcium Nitrate Fertilizer 15.5-0-0
12 grams Hydroponic Tomato Fertilizer 4-18-38
6 grams epsom salts Magnesium Sulfate

I mix up a 5 gallon batch then add to a watering container about 4 (water) -1 (fert)
The only reason I do it this way is because I have a bunch of the powder mixed up already.
Most of it goes into the yard for shrubs and trees

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jal_ut wrote:One gallon of water. One heaping tablespoonful of fertilizer powder. Stir it up well, and just go water the plants. Once a week.
Awesome! That's exactly what I needed. Thank you! :-()

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Location: Gardening in western U.P. of MI. 46+ N. lat. elev 1540. zone 3; state bird: mosquito

I use the same Miracle Grow soluble mix for my new seedlings once they get true leaves. Actually, on my container the powder came in, it says for houseplants, use 1 teaspoon per gallon of water. That's about 1/3 the normal strength. It doesn't say anything about new seedlings.

I sort of compromise and use half tablespoon per gallon of water, then only use the fertilizer water every other watering. The watering interval isn't written in stone. I water when soil in my little grow cells gets dry. I can tell by the weight and look of the soil. It might be a week between watering, it may be less. But, every other watering is just plain water. I think I learned this on the forum a while back. Seems to work well for me. :)

Just got to thinking, it also depends on what seed starting mix you're using. Maybe it's the kind that already has some fertilizer in it? Mine does not, so I use the Miracle Grow.

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Where are you located, where are you keeping the seedlings, and how long until last average frost?

As Taiji mentioned, your potting mix may already contain fertilizer. Youngest seedlings shouldn't be given full strength dilution. 1/4 strength at first, then maybe 1/2 strength depending on the potting medium. Also situation varies depending on how quickly the growing medium dries and you need to water again. Don't use chemical fertilizer at every watering especially when seedlings are in tiny cells and dries out quickly -- evaporation, concentrated salt, .... what are the three NPK numbers listed for your fertilizer?

Amount to water with liquid fertilizer will be according to amount if moisture they need at each watering. That can't be described in volume -- more like when soil surface feels dry (nothing sticks to your dry fingers when lightly pressed on the surface) or container feels light when hefted -- and soak the container in tray or put liquid in tray until it doesnt soak up any more/top of surface is damp, then drip drain. ...what are you using for seed starting mix and containers?

Seedling growth will depend on available growing area, light, temperature, as well as nutrients. You need to balance these with the remaining time until planting -- you don't want the seedlings to grow too quickly, resulting in weak lanky plants that are difficult to handle and more susceptible to pests and diseases.

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I agree, the seeds should have enough nutrients to get young plants off to a good start. If you have too much nitrogen in the mix at the wrong time, your seeds may fail to germinate or dampen off.

I would not start fertilizing until the true leaves appear. 1/4 strength is good if you are going to do it weekly. It is also suggested that you only fertilize 1/4 strength for three weeks and one week just water to flush out the salts.

I used to use miracle grow on everything and it grew lush and well. However, one year it rained for 42 days and nights and the plants were drowning so I did not fertilize that year and the next year it bloomed better. I paid for the that the year after though. Too much fertilizer will give you growth at the expense of bloom and fruit. The wrong combination in the fertilizer can adversely affect flowering and fruiting. So, I suggest that you switch to a slow release fertilyzer once they get planted out and while it is o.k. to continue to use a higher nitrogen for leafy plants like Asian greens and lettuce, fruiting and rooting crops like beets, radishes, tomatoes, peppers should have a fertilizer with slow N and lower nitrogen. Nitrogen for fruiting and rooting crops should be timed to the growth phases of the plant. Cabbabages, taro, potato,and beets like more alkaline conditions and lower N. Too much nitrogen for beets and other roots crops will end up with lots of tops and not a lot of bulb. Conditions that are too alkaline make nitrogen and micronutrients less available for acid loving plants like tomatoes, peppers, gardenia, and roses.

Miracle grow for acid loving plants, citrus food, and high nitrogen fertilizers are more acidic, especially if they contain micronutrients and sulfur
Bone meal, phosphorus, compost, and lime are alkaline
Pure peat moss is acidic, but most commercial peat moss has been limed to a pH of 6.0.

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